- Enemies of the Imperium
- The Archenemy
- Navigational Hazards
- Planetary Hazards of the Prosperitas Sector
- Void Hazards of the Prosperitas Sector
- Warp Hazards of the Prosperitas Sector
- Flora and Fauna of the Prosperitas Sector
- Flora of the Prosperitas Sector
- Fauna of the Prosperitas Sector
The Galaxy is dark and full of horrors.
Though the Imperium controls the majority of what was once known as the Milky Way Galaxy, that doesn’t mean that it has rendered it safe.
The Prosperitas Sector is a good example of that. As a recent addition to the Imperium – with only five hundred years of occupation – many of its outer limits have gone untamed, many dangerous flora and fauna roam the wilds, and, most insidiously, rebels and heretics plot the downfall of what they view as Imperial tyranny even as other foes seek to destroy it from without.
The astrography of the Prosperitas Sector does not make this any better. It is a frontier sector. Barring two fluctuating corridors leading to the Segmentum Solar and the Cadia Sector, Prosperitas is bordered by wild, untamed, and unexplored space. To make matters worse, fluctuations in the nearby Eye of Terror in 328.M41 – just under three hundred years ago – resulted in a tendril of the infamous storm consuming part of the sector.
Now, the border of the lesser Eye stormfront dubbed ‘Tenebris’ corrupts worlds along the border of what was once Subsector Quartus, and unleases hellish horrors and hordes of warp-tainted foes from the storm’s depths. With the coming of the storm has also come madness.there has been madness. The Imperium has done its best to maintain control of the Sector, but sometimes its grip is too tight, and things begin to splinter.
Enemies of the Imperium
The 41st Millenium is not a peaceful place. Though the Imperium is the dominant power of the Milky Way, it is not without those who would challenge that dominance – from xenos races that seek to reclaim long-faded glories, to wayward human worlds that refuse its rule, the Imperium has been in a near-constant state of war since its creation. New wars break out almost daily, while Imperial authorities fight threats emerging within their own ranks.
As with much of the Imperium, criminals are a sector wide threat. Many criminal organisations within the Prosperitas Sector are small and localised on the planetary level. Hive Worlds, most of all, suffer from a violent ‘gang culture’, with criminal groups carving out territories. As a result, most criminals represent local travelling hazards, violent assault and theft, and the risk of getting caught up in a gang war are the biggest threats to most Servants of the Imperium- you can find out more about crime in the Prosperitas Sector here.
However there are a few specific hazards and wider groups that a character may be aware of.
For the most part, Piracy remains a constant hazard in the Prosperitas Sector. Many vessels that once belonged to the pre-Imperial Regency Navy, were never defeated in battle, or, when they were, their hulks were repurposed by criminal elements. Pirates tend to operate from a single vessel, or a single ‘mothership’ operating several small vessels, and generally they target less protecting civilian shipping. Occasionally, however, bands of pirates will form to mount a significant raid upon the convoys of one of the great Trader or Chartist Houses, or even the supply convoys of the Munitorum. Humans tend to make up many pirate crews, but it is not unknown for them to include Xenos, or for Xenos vessels to raid into Imperial Space. Although Battlefleet Prosperitas does its best to secure the trade routes of the sector, it is filled with aging vessels, and many of its best ships are committed to military operations – which has allowed the problem to worsen.
Many of what were once the larger interplanetary criminal syndicates now lay buried in the unspoken history of parts of the Sector Nobility, and for the most part such organisations have been legitimised, co-opted and controlled by the Imperium rather than expending effort eradicating them. However, two groups that remain stand out:
The Circle of Thorns is one of the criminal groups condemned and classified by the Imperium as a threat. Its symbol, matching its name, is a circlet of thorny vines, which are also incorporated into the tattoo designs worn by its members. A vast criminal empire, involved in piracy, smuggling, illegal operations on-world across many planets, it exercises almost total control of the illegal drugs trade in the sector. The Circle is known for its secrecy, operating almost cult-like in individual cells. Its leadership is shadowy, and subject to a myriad of rumours as to who it consists of. The Circle is large enough to have attracted the attention of the Holy Ordos, partially out of fear that it may be heretical, and partly because it has actively killed several Imperial agents.
The Fist of Steel began as the remnants of the Manufactorum Guilds of Korimesta. However, after the takeover of production facilities by the Adeptus Mechanicus following the reunification with the Imperium, the Guilds found themselves marginalised and, eventually, supplanted by the Machine Cult. Initially rebelling against the Mechanicus, the Fist of Steel supported its activities with the operation of unsanctioned manufacture. Though a splinter faction known as the Black Gauntlet continues their original message, today the Fist has evolved into a vast criminal empire of Hereteks and other unsanctioned mechanists who defy the Mechancus’ dominion of technology and supply a great majority of unsanctioned weapons and technology to various groups and criminals. It still retains its hatred of the Mechanicum. and its thugs target members of the Machine Cult and actively commit terrorist attacks on their facilities – though usually as a cover for technology theft.
Rebellion has been a constant issue for the Imperial Authorities in the Prosperitas Sector. Hostilities between the native populations of Prosperitas planets and Imperial colonists often serve as the catalyst for more widespread dissent, though he colonial Imperial population is not immune to resistance to Imperial rule either. Massive class divides between lowborn citizens and the Imperial nobility, and the harsh authority of Imperial governence creates friction with the wider population. Often this leads to expressions of discontent, rather than armed conflict – such individuals are ruthlessly profiled and identified by the Adeptus Arbites and the Holy Ordos and sanctioned for the crime of dissent. However, the smart ones, the ones not identified at an early stage, prove a much bigger problem.
The reason the Imperium in the Prosperitas Sector acts to cut out the infection of sedition early is that the above frictions make most worlds of the Sector a powderkeg of potential violence. The Ruwwad and Annwfyn ethnic groups have a long history of resistance against outside invaders, and the resources of many worlds are stretched thin by the Prosperitas Crusade and their tithe duties. Most rebellions are localised conflicts – Mawson’s Wake, for example, has almost entirely collapsed due to insurgent conflict, but for the most part these conflicts do not spread to wider worlds.
The Rising Flame is the exception to the rule. This organisation traces a long history of resistance against the Archenemy, and was an ally of the Imperial forces until they refused to assimilate into the Imperium after the God-Emperor’s rule was re-established over the sector. Since that date, the Flame has been a constant thorn in the side of the Imperium. They are accepting of abhumans and xenos as equals in their ranks and are built around a shifting cell structure – which means that the Flame has had no trouble finding allies and recruits and has survived multiple purges. Desperation, though, has driven the Flame to become more and more spectacular, graduating from attacking Imperial military targets, to softer civilian targets in more grandiose displays of terrorism, as it becomes more frantic in its attempts to resist the tightening grip of the Imperium.
Heresy is a moral threat to the soul of the Imperium, even the most harmless seeming heresies pose a deep spiritual threat in the eyes of the Imperial Cult because they erode the faith and will of the Imperial populace.
Schisms are not unheard of within the Imperial Cult. In such a vast Galaxy there are often those with differing opinions on how best to to give the God Emperor Their due worship, or with differing practices of ritual. Normally, these ‘sects’ are recognised and incorporated into the faith – though the Imperium has had bloody wars of faith – but there are those that are intolerable to the wider Ecclesiarchy. Deviant ‘Death Cults’ that practice murder as worship can be a major challenge – but, more often than not, it is puritan factions of the Imperial Cult that are the most trouble. Fanatics like the ‘Redemptionists’ see heresy in even the most loyal citizens for imagined failures to observe stricter rules of worship – and have been known to cause immense problems for the Imperium with their disdain for any authority other than the God-Emperor’s direct command and their vicious attacks on other citizens.
Hereteks, on the other hand, are those that break not the taboos of the Imperial Cult, but of the Machine Cult. To break with the Rites and Rituals of the Sacred Machine can result in summary conversion into a servitor or fouler fates as a Mechanicus test subject. The majority of Hereteks behave more as criminals than heretical cultists. They are mechanics operating without sanction, individuals failing to observe the rituals of the Machine – and all are Hereteks in the eyes of the Priesthood of Mars. But there are worse threats to the sanctiity of the followers of the Omnissiah. The Fist of Steel – and especially the splinter Black Gauntlet faction – are both criminals and active enemies of the Imperium – and there are many whispers of the mysterious Black Octad Combine that serves to create foul machinery from the warp-touched worlds at the edge of the Eye.
Xenocults are rare – for few xenos encountered are friendly enough to humans for worship to form around them. In the Prosperitas Sector, these only really manifest in small ways on the borders of Imperial space – though the exception is on Persephon IV. There, xenocultist ‘Konskripts’ to the Ork hordes are a persistent problem when they infiltrate Imperial-held regions of the planet.
Warp Cults are an insidious and constant threat to the Imperium. Many are insane heretics who give worship to false “gods” they claim to have seen in dreams and visions sent from realms beyond reality. These false religions bring with them unspeakable horrors, said to foster bonds with Witches and Mutants to undermine the moral security of Imperial citizens. Though rebels – and xenocults, when they occur – are no less a threat, it is the warp cults that the Imperium most swiftly brings judgement upon. Within the Prosperitas Sector, a foul gathering of false “Priest-Kings” and their cults ruled over the sector for ten thousand years before the coming of the Imperium: and this period of history still scars the sector. Foul “shrines” and dark texts are still uncovered and the remnants of those once powerful cults still being hunted down to this day. No single cult is the same: some are obvious in their foulness, bringing bloodshed and plague, whereas others are more subtle corruptors and manipulators.
Other “religions” do exist within the Prosperitas Sector. The Annwfyn people possessed, before the arrival of the Imperium, their own misguided false “religion”. That “faith” has been stamped out prohibited since the establishment of Imperial rule, though rebels like the Rising Flame are rumoured to still hold to it.
There are many alien threats to the Imperium in the Prosperitas Sector. Though much of the fighting of the Crusade occurs along the borders of the Tenebris Subsector, there are a great many expeditions into the Rimward Marches and the Nemean Gulf, where several alien cultures continue to thrive. Occasionally, these races will pose a threat to the Imperium, either mounting raids and attacks upon the worlds of the Prosperitas Sector, or often acting as corsairs and mercenaries within armies fighting against the Crusade.
The untamed regions of the Nemean Gulf have posed a challenge for the Imperium ever since their arrival to the Prosperitas Sector. This spinward region of untamed sector space is home to many humans and Xenos worlds, including the nomadic Shavasti and the so-called Redd Worldz from which the Ork hordes of Waagh! Gazbag! originated. They also contain many human-populated worlds, including the planet Finisterra which served as the site of the Crusade’s greatest humiliation in recent years.
Orks are amongst the oldest foes of the Imperium, but years of Imperial propaganda have made many citizens complacent about them. The Ork is presented to citizens as a savage unintelligent animal – an almost comedic threat – but any who have seen one knows the lie. The true Ork is a predator, a monstrous creature turned entirely to making war. Prosperitas was once naïve to their threat until Waaagh! Gazbag suddenly tore out of the Ork colonies on the Red Worldz in 563.M41. The Imperium had known of Ork life on the surface of those worlds, but had underestimated the threat of what it saw as simple savages – were it not for fate’s miraculous intervention and the ability of the Persephonian people to hold the Orks at Persephon IV, then the Orks might well have torn a path all the way to Duroverum.
Orks in the Prosperitas sector are smaller than their kin in the wider galaxy, but are smarter on average. More uniquely, the Orks of Waagh! Gazbag are notable in their employment of hordes of human xenocultists called ‘Konskripts’, and for the fanatical devotion of both orks and humans to their enigmatic leader-beast Gazbag, Prophet of the Twin Sunz.
The Shavasti are a race unique to the Prosperitas Sector, and these humanoid creatures are insidious in their threat to the Imperium. Few Imperials have ever seen their faces, for the Shavasti wear enclosed helmets and bodyshape-masking robes. In the native slang of Prosperitas they are called Fimir and have long plagued the sector. A nomadic race, their hatred for the Imperium was born from the destruction of their home world in a war lost to Imperial records – one kept bitterly alive in their hearts over millennia until the Imperium returned. The race is known for a unique trait that appears to disrupt Psykers and shields them and those around them from psychic abilities. It is thankful then that they are loners – rarely are even two found in the same place – but in recent years it appears the Shavasti have joined the Rising Flame en-mass, and are often found supporting these terrorists and traitors.
Eldar are another ancient foe of the Imperium. Slender, pointy-eared humanoids, they have never been present in great number in the Sector – but are embedded in local myths as a fae race known for stealing isolated individuals into deep dark caves, or as vicious pirates that haunt the routes through Sector Space. Actual encounters with such creatures are rare but when they do strike they leave tales of suffering and woe in their wake.
Undine are a disgusting threat. These small insectoids were once thought of as parasitic animals, but it was soon discovered that a swarm of them could burrow into the flesh of a victim and turn them into a flesh-puppet ‘hive’ under their control. Horrifyingly, the resultant flesh-hive appears sentient, and very much willing to aid heretics and traitors. Undine march forth alongside enemies of the Imperium n the Rimward Marches wearing all sorts of mutated flesh as their skin. The Imperium is cautious in any engagement with them, however, and screening is employed to ensure no parasites leave the fight in the bodies of Imperial troops.
These are the most common xenos threats, but there are rumours of other alien filth out their in the dark abyss of space. There are legends about of giant arachnid-like Weavers, and the mysterious floating creatures known as the Cascade – as well rumours of a newly-encountered race of avian-like headhunters who have proven terrifyingly effective accompanying hostile powers to battle.
Not all humans fall under the righteous dominion of the Imperium. Many live upon the untamed worlds where warp-cultists and their foul mutant brethren hold sway, though every year more fall to Imperial might. Unlike the warp cults within the Imperium, it is not uncommon for heretical demagogues and warlords to arise in these untamed places, gathering vast warbands of the lost and the damned – before assaulting the Imperium in the name of foul false “gods”.
The Regency Remnant are the foul remains of the false Priest-Kings of the Prosperitas Sector, military units that continue to fight a war they lost five hundred years ago. The Regency are a grim reflection of the noble Imperial Military – unlike the Archenemy forces encountered across the wider Imperium – drilled to a high standard rather than a barbarian horde. Their weakness is in their scarce numbers – the Remnant are but a shade of what they once were, vastly outnumbered by the Imperial Military.
In 583.M41, a Regency battlegroup known as the Talons of the Way successfully invaded the Titan proving ground at Henlock supported by Heretek elements and the foul Undine. Since establishing this foothold – well away from the warp-blighted worlds the Remnant survives on on the Eye’s edge – the Talons have engaged in little direct warfare with the Imperium. Their conquest of Henlock was seemingly settled, until the Imperium launched a third battle for the planet in 593.
The Weeping Eye and the Creeping Death were for many years the greatest military threat to the Prosperitas Sector, a foul conglomerate of diseased tribes from the depths of the Tenebris Eye Storm. These foul hordes were led by a pair of twins, the warlords or Herforingi Arnkatla Tain and her brother Greppur. The Tain Twins led a series of major assaults on Imperial space resulting in the invasion of the Crusade HQ at Polarnus Station in 592. Thanks to the brave efforts of Imperial forces, they were beaten back. However, neither of the Tain Twins were defeated or captured, and their barbaric horde of assembled warp-tribes may rise again as a threat in the future.
When travelling the sector there are plenty of hazards one will encounter that are common to the galaxy at large.
Planetary hazards are numerous. Many are those that would have been encountered on Terra-that-was: electrical storms, high winds, extreme temperatures, and other atmospheric phenomena. These, humans have withstood over their tens of millennia of existence, and will continue to do so. But space exploration has brought humanity to many worlds that humans have not adapted to naturally.
A planet whose atmosphere contains toxic and corrosive gases, exotic radiation, or simply thin unbreathable air can force humans to survive in life-support suits when travelling there. Such a planet is simply incapable of supporting human life – but humanity has proven anything if not tenacious and human settlements cling to the most inhospitable worlds. Even on young planets where the mantle has not cooled, humans live amongst magma fields on ever-shifting and often-temporary landmasses. Humanity has proven time and time again that it has the tenacity to endure in the deadliest environments.
Natural hazards are very rarely insurmountable – the worst hazards on many worlds are the consequences of human action. The Imperial war machine possesses hundreds of lethal weapons that leave deep scars on the worlds they used on, rendering entire regions unable to support life again. Devices that trigger crippling earthquakes and orbital bombardments that throw dust and debris into the atmosphere can lead to severe environmental catasrophes. It is not only wars that bring ruin to worlds, but also human negligence. Often, the Imperium’s hunger for raw resources and mass manufacture leads to planetary devastation. From strip-mining of resources, or land clearance for mass farming to feed the masses – Imperial industry is not clean and industrial worlds develop polluted toxic environments even as ecosystems break down.
Void travel has its hazards too. Of course, there are foes who might act with hostility against Imperial vessels – but in addition, despite the vastness of space, it is not as empty of environmental hazards as one might believe. Within a star system, a Captain might encounter dense and deadly fields of asteroids or the debris of some forgotten battle. Void shields are built to withstand such things, but they can be easily overwhelmed but multiple impacts. Closer to stellar bodies, naturally occurring hazards such as strong magnetic fields, captured clouds of corrosive or explosive gasses or geomagnetic storms can easily be the end of the incautious Captain.
The stars, the pulsing hearts of the galaxy, can be just as deadly as beautiful. Though few would be stupid enough to approach the immediate sphere of a star without due caution, they are unpredictable – sudden solar storms and flares can wash systems in deadly radiation overloading shields and ship systems, or vent superheated stellar gasses that will incinerate even the mightiest warship. For this reason, any ship will cautiously monitor nearby stars for even in death they can be deadly – everyone knows the supernovas that mark their final death throes are apocalyptic events. Even in death a star can leave deadly remnants – neutron stars, nebulas, and reality-warping black holes – all of which are best avoided by sensible Captains.
Beyond systems, regions of gravitational fluxes and unusual stellar phenomena are often unique to their regions of space. Perhaps the most common are nebulae, areas of dense gasses that can be formed from the death of stars as well as other natural causes – gas from a nebula can be dangerous to a ship, or simply form major navigational hazards that confuse auspex readings and block conventional communications. It is no surprise that they are favoured hiding spots of pirates and other outcast ships.
Given the infinite variety of space there are infinite hazards to be found from dark matter storms to blue shifted energy, exotic matter to rogue planetoids. Perhaps the greatest threats at deep void are black holes. These stellar hazards are mercifully rare phenomena that warp spacetime close to them, tearing vessels caught in their grasp apart in tidal gravitational forces, before crushing them to infinite density within the singularity at their centre. Before that ultimate fate, ships and planets trapped on the edges of black holes are subjected to chrono-distortions which can result in causality problems – a million years can pass in the wider galaxy while, aboard a trapped ship, only a few years may pass.
There are many non-natural hazards when travelling the void. Many of the above natural phenomena can be created by the unleashing of ancient and deadly weapons of the Dark Age of Technology and xenos races. More common, however, is the detritus of war. In a galaxy riven by near-constant warfare, the void is filled with ruined wrecks of forgotten battles, abandoned minefields, and malfunctioning automated defence systems that still function despite the wars they were built for being long-forgotten. The abandoned echoes of war are as deadly as any natural hazard, and perhaps the most ironic of deaths a voidship can suffer is to be struck by rogue munitions fired centuries before they were even constructed. This is why many Imperial void munitions are fused and why void gunners are ordered to only fire when they have a targeting solution. ‘Eyeballing it’ can be grounds for Commissariat punishment, for a misfired shot may be a harbinger of doom long after all those who remember the battle in which it was fired meet their final end.
Of all the non-natural hazards, space hulks are perhaps the most dangerous. They can be the ancient wreckage of a single starship left travelling through the void, or a mangled amalgamation of the twisted remains of many ships and artificial debris. Both are found drifting through the galaxy, many so huge that they possess their own gravity and atmosphere. More disturbingly, debris comprised of such vessels may have multiple malfunctioning warp cores impacted into their superstructure, leading them to exit and re-enter the Warp seemingly at random. Even if they remain on the right side of the Empyrean, they are a deadly temptation for the unwary captain. The promise of forgotten treasures can lead many to a life of damnation trapped within the hulk, or death at the hands of xenos creatures or other lost and damned souls trapped aboard. At their worst, they are vectors of invasion. They can form crude transports used by that can appear at random above an unsuspecting world to unleash hordes of xenos and heretics upon it – or, worse, simply smash into that world, with those invaders that survive being a horrific aftershock following the devastating impact of the mass itself. To this end, the Imperium does its best to catalogue and analyse these structures, labelling them with names so they can be easily identified for the dangers and treasures they are recorded to hold.
Warp phenomena are the most unnatural and unexplained occurrences in reality – where the energies from the Immaterium – the dimension though which ships travel to cross vast differences in short leaps – leak into reality, twisting the natural laws into nonsense mockeries of physics.
The majority of warp events are classified by the Holy Ordo, but the most frequent are the so-called Warp Storms. Originally misidentified as black holes or nebulae, warp storms form around rifts between the warp and reality. These can be miniscule tears that bathe a household in warp energies, or grand formations engulfing multiple star systems. The actual tear is rarely huge – but the exotic warp energies spilling through them can twist and mutate those exposed to them into madness and foul mutations, while often distorting or breaking down the rules of reality in an affected area.
Though the details of warp travel are the guarded provenance of the Navigator Houses, there are known hazards to travelling in an impossible realm. Every Imperial vessel is equipped with a ‘Gellar Field’ generation, The field creates a pocket of reality within the madness to protect a ship and her crew from madness, and worse. The Warp has tides and currents in an analogous way to an ocean, and a vessel unfortunate enough to be caught in them can emerge far from their destination, both in time and space, many miles from and many centuries after – or before – they left. Those that arrive displaced but intact are the lucky few – most vessels subjected to warp phenomena are destroyed. Some, worst of all, end up twisted and warped by the energies beyond reality, emerging as horrific ghost ships filled with the mutated flesh-creatures that were once their crew.
Planetary Hazards of the Prosperitas Sector
Many of the hazards on the worlds of the Prosperitas Sector are encountered in the wider galaxy, as described above.
Most of the planetary hazards of the Sector are Imperial-created. Amenophis, Duroverum, Ferraeus, Korimesta, Naximus – all these world’s environments are the victims of Imperial industry. Their ecosystems are in various states of collapse and toxic, with radioactive and other waste intermingled so deeply as to render whole rivers or even the very rain toxic and corrosive. Their planetary surfaces are so toxic that inhabitants are either specially adapted for survival, or live within sealed Hives and arcologies where the air and water are scrubbed as much as the aging filters will allow.
These worlds are not alone in Imperial-made disasters. Leaving the primary settlements of Kelper Prime is ill-advised because war has laced the landscape with minefields; the dustbowl of Mawson’s Wake is the aftermath of failed terraforming; and, of course, both Caudica Secundus and Strayvia are lifeless wastes – the aftermath of the ultimate sanction of the Imperium, Exterminatus.
Not all worlds are inhospitable by the results of human industry, however. Letifer Secundus, and Bachian IV are both uninhabitable hells by their very nature. The corrosive rains of Bachian and the venom rains of Letifer, along with their utterly deadly atmospheric gases has always made them uninhabitable, though the Letiferens make an industry out of their planets toxicity. Lubyanka is an uninhabitable ice world, with a thin atmosphere subject to frequent meteor strikes that make the surface deadly even if you can survive the cold. Shadowglow is like Lubyanka, but without even the relief of a sun’s light. Those who go to the surface do so in near-constant darkness, as the planet utterly eclipsed most of the year round – and those that dwell beneath the ground are subject to high gravity troubles. Other worlds like Lerwick and Nivalis are inhospitable outside of the equatorial regions, subjected to ice storms and regular snowfall. On Lerwick these storms cause atmospheric interference that makes communications difficult.
The former shrine-planet of Gaudium is lashed by constant storms. The Sector Meteorological Survey spends a goodly amount of time studying these stormfronts in attempt to understand them and the unique magnetic anomalies that accompany them on the ocean planet. With underhive flooding and tsunamis increasing, there is pressure on local authorities to build bigger and better storm defences. The surface of the planet boils with increasingly larger and longer-lasting typhoons, hurricanes and other storm-formations – far beyond what even the most pessimistic meteorologist’s models predict.
Though its central desert belt is uninhabitable hot, Macharion is a stable planet environmentally – with one notable exception. The entire southern pole is shrouded in dense fog banks and electromagnetic interference from an unknown source – speculated to be the result of rare mineral deposits on the surface reacting with the atmosphere – which has made remote scouting nigh-impossible. In recent years, there have been some intrepid souls who have attempted to explore the region, but few return – those that do speak of seeing strange lights and shapes in the mist.
The world of Vannin, part of the holdings of House Vilas-Lobo, is made up of impenetrable jungles and forests, with an atmosphere toxic to humanoid life. All efforts to explore it or exploit its resources have met with failure, beyond a few exported plants and their derivatives which exist mainly as curios in collections: or, at least, that is the public understanding. There are rumors that Vilas-Lobo – or even the Holy Ordos of the Inquisition – hide some dark secret on the verdant world, but as none but Vilas-Lobo vessels ever approach, it is difficult to verify this.
The forests of Helaerus III seem serene at first glance – yet, were it not for the stable hive arcologies on the planet, it would be classified a ‘death world’. Though the term applied to forested worlds summons up images dense living jungles where every inch of land is hostile to civilised life – like Vannin – Helaerus’s surface is a temperate coniferous forest, densely populated by vast evergreen steelwood trees. These trees are prized as a major export of the planet, but is only possible with convoys of heavily armoured land crawlers to protect loggers – for on Helareus, every plant and animal is deadlier than it seems.
Void Hazards of the Prosperitas Sector
The Prosperitas Sector has many of the common navigational dangers for Void Captains as the wider galaxy. The sector’s stable navigational routes and systems are choked with the detritus of the wars that the Prosperitas Crusade fought to take them. There are several small nebulae and multiple stellar hazards but only a few regions and unique phenomena are worthy of note.
22-32-Charybdis – known in the Ruwwad tongue of Niqash as Azhdahā – is the only known black hole in the Sector. Located close to Naximus Prime, it was once upon the border of Subsector Quartus , now Tenebris, before the sector lines were redrawn to accommodate Naximus space into Subsector Secundus. It has acted as a natural defence to the Forge for millennia. Its gravitational fluxes make void travel in the region difficult without following routes tightly controlled by the Naximan warfleet – but, in addition, 22-32-Charybdis has a unique impact upon warp travel in the region, making it impossible to bypass by travelling through the Empyrean. It is theorised that this unique stellar phenomena, is in, part the reason that Naximus and its surrounding systems were not so devastated by the Lash of the Eye as those nearby systems in what was once Subsector Quartus. Hemmed on its westward side by a chain of Adeptus Mechanicus monitoring stations, the Priests of Naximus monitor and map the fluctuations of the hole constantly, fearful that one day their greatest defence will consume their realm.
The Shard Reef is a vast debris field near to the Persephon System, believed to potentially originate from some planetary disaster millennia ago. The region is subject to various unusual anomalies. For example, on the largest object within the reef, Lilim-1249, Sector Geological Survey teams have found its surface wracked by geological conditions impossible in any natural environments. Rivers of fire flow throughout the asteroid; lightning storms wrack its surface; tectonic disturbances shake its form; glacial formations freeze its depths and heights. All these phenomenon coexist together, a bizarre microcosm worldscape wracked by the elements. Further exploration of the reef has been impossible due to high piracy – but even pirates keep away from the deeper parts of the debris field, fearful of some imagined horror.
The Môr Draenog is a vast region of space, within a rough triangle between the planets of Kydos, Kirkcud and Carthusia. Imperial Captains have picked up superstitions from natives about this region, and few will travel through it. Vessels that dare this place rarely return. It is believed that a cluster of unilluminated nebulas simply make it impossible to navigate without becoming lost, but there are more grandiose rumours of ghost ships drifting within the region, of void-kraken and worse within this feared and blighted area of space. The Môr Draenog is subject to all manner of wild and incredible folktales – each more ridiculous and incredible than the last.
A legacy of war has resulted in many lost hulks drifting within the Prosperitas Sector, but none are as famous as sacred Durovera’s Sorrow and blighted Durovera’s Pain. The two twin Space Hulks are young by the standards of the Imperium. They were created in the early years of the Prosperitas Sector during the Battle of the Line, in which Warmaster Jacinta Durovera broke the back of the Regency Navy.
During the battle, the reactor of the battleship Helios’ Fury collapsed into a micro black hole in the middle of Regency and Imperial lines – this shattered the Regency line allowing the more numerous Imperial fleet to recover and exploit the gap to gain victory. The victory, however, came at a terrible cost. Multiple vessels were trapped in the gravitational flux, and crushed together into a massive twisted hulk. In the aftermath, this bulk split in half. One formed around a compacted core of the Helios’ Fury, floating freely in the real void, while the other exited realspace in a spectacular eruption of multiple breached warp reactors.
Since that date, the realspace hulk Durovera’s Sorrow has drifted across the void of the Prosperitas Sector, occasionally having its course adjusted by Imperial tugs. The misshapen mass has been transformed into a holy site by the Ecclesiarchy; its vast twisted corridors have become a shrine to the dead of the Prosperitas Crusade. Many pilgrims travel to the wreckage when it passes through their system, to etch the names of loved ones onto the walls of the great shrine-wreck. Tended to by the Ecclesiastic Order of the Sacred Exile, this unusual nomad-shrine is not uncommonly escorted by warships on ceremonial guard duties.
The twin of the Sorrow, Durovera’s Pain, has returned from the warp time and time again, an ill omen of death and destruction. Some say its very presence is corrupting, spreading madness amongst those worlds it appears over when it tears from the warp – but this tainted hulk carries far worse things, foul warbands of the Archenemy have been known to ride upon its wake or within its twisted halls, spilling from it like foul insects from a hive when it appears above a civilised world, raiding the planet that fall in the hulks shadow. Numerous attempts have been mounted to clense or destroy Durovera’s Pain over its history: it vanished after the last attempt in 311.M41 and the blight was believed gone. This was proven false hope in 592.M41. Durovera’s Pain appeared out of the warp in the Strayvian Gateway followed by a wake of Creeping Death and Renegade Warships, breaking through the Imperial blockade there before vanishing once more, appearing weeks later over the Shrine World of Nivalis. The blighted hulk remains in the orbit of the Shrine World, returning the world to upheaval and chaos as the Fidelis Militia of Cardinal Grulge struggle to wrestle back control of the planet.
Warp Hazards of the Prosperitas Sector
One cannot talk about the dangers of the Prosperitas Sector without first considering the threat of the warp. The sector is prone to strange warp travel fluctuations, where ships can suddenly find themselves ejected into real space as the warp is suddenly becalmed. This was one of the many reasons the sector was isolated from the wider Imperium for many years, as the warp tides around the sector border left few passages for vessels to make it through until the Sol-Prosperitas Passage was rediscovered by Jacinta Durovera. Prosperan Captains and Navigators have long learned the routes where these eddies and tides do not cause trouble, and so they have been compensated for, but there is one warp hazard which none dare risk
Subsector Tenebris sometimes referred to as the Tenebris stormfront, is a lesser part of the greatest warp storm in the Galaxy, the Ocularis Terribus or ‘Eye of Terror’ that consumed the region during an unprecedented swelling of the Eye in 328.M41. The edges of this storm boil with the seething energies of the warp, twisting and altering reality on the worlds in its grasp. The only mercy of having this twisted space so close to the sector, is that along the Eye’s edge, where the light of the Astronomicon touches it, a halo of burning worlds makes the border near-impassable, except for the space around the Cadian Gate in the nearby Cadia Sector. At times the cancerous smear on reality is a benign threat, but during times of rising warp activity it can send ripples through the Immaterium into the sector. At these times, Imperial authorities will implement curfews and forbid citizens from looking into the sky at night, for fear of them seeing the unreal madness in the skies.
Flora and Fauna of the Prosperitas Sector
Most of the planets capable of supporting life in the Prosperitas Sector possess some form of native life, though sentient xenos lifeforms might once have been supported upon them the majority of xenoform life comes in the shape of non-sentient fauna and flora. Though the Imperial creed exposits hatred of Xenos, it is rather more flexible about xenos beasts and plantlife, with the Imperium co-opting many xenos creatures and plants as food sources, working animals and even pets and ornamentation. But for every benign xenoform, there are as many dangerous and unique threats; predator-animals that cannot be tamed by Imperial colonists, or carnivorous plants that prey upon them.
Flora of the Prosperitas Sector
Most crops in the Prosperitas Sector can be found across the Imperium, and consist various of various standard gene-pattern grains. Other life-sustaining plants, such as the kelp harvested alongside the plankton of Kydos, have followed the same standards, engineered by Magos Biologis, for millennia. With essentially no deviation from safe norms, there is ittle of interest or note to say about them. However, certain wild forms of plant life in the Prosperitas Sector can be worrying hazards to those exploring the wilds.
For example, in the underbrush of Helaerus III, razorvines snag and sheer straight through flesh and bone, dismembering the unwary enough to tug against their monofilament strands, making fleeing from the predators of the forest as deadly as facing them. The defensive seeding method of the Helaeran pine sees it drop its pine cones when the unwary traveller steps on its pressure-sensitive roots – filled with gasses during maturation, these seed cones erupt when they strike the forest floor with the power of a fragmentation grenade. Those unfortunate enough to survive must have extensive surgery to remove the seeds embedded in their flesh or they will take root and start to grow within the body. Even the seemingly harmless ferns on the forest floor have earned the name ‘Hangman’s fern’. They may have a passing resemblance to the ferns that were once found on earth, but their ‘fronds’ are in fact complex strangling arms that coil around sleeping animals and people, crushing and choking them to death and leaving them to decompose feed the plant’s appetite. These are just three major examples of the deadly plant life teeming in the forests of Helaerus, before one even begins to consider the beasts lurking there.
The single most important export of Helareus, the Steelwood Tree has been known to grow to sizes of over 150m in height and 15m wide. However, their main feature is their incredible density, causing a single tree to have a weight of nearly 100,000 tons. Steelwood is relatively common on Helaerus, but is difficult to find and harvest due to the dangers present within the forest. Steelwood can be used to make a wide range of items, and can be as strong and damage resistant as most steel products. It is seen as a sign of prestige and standing for a household to have a set of Steelwood knives in their kitchens.
Across the sector, the strange beings known as the Cerddwyr – sometimes called ‘Tree-Tenders’ – are found. They appear to at first glance to be fauna, but these strange bipedal creatures appear to simply be a tree-like species of mobile plant. They are found in several shapes, and there are as many variations of their form as there are climates it is found in. They do not generally pose a threat until threatened, and in several circumstances have been observed to ‘guard’ various areas preventing approach, or simply move around arboreal locations ‘tending’ to local plant life. While they are no doubt strange, they are rarely targeted as a threat, unless they are threatening Imperial lives or preventing the completion of another duty. These enigmatic creatures do not seem to communicate; their only concern is the tending to of the ecosystems of the planets they are found on – normally. Some variations of these creatures are more hostile, especially those encountered on worlds close to the Tenebris stormfront. Here, warp-exposure drives these creatures seemingly insane which can make them a threat to those that encounter them.
Fauna of the Prosperitas Sector
There are breeds of creature common across the entire Imperium, and many of them can be found in the Prosperitas Sector having been brought here by human colonists. The relationship between mankind and beasts has been a long history of animal husbandry and domestication that continued as they took to the stars. Most of the animals once-present upon Terra are now extinct in the forms native to the cradle of humanity, though some descendants of these species, survive having been brought to the stars by humankind. This can cause issues. Species with minimal deviation from the sacred forms of Terran animals are precious and valuable things, and in the Prosperitas Sector, a recent increase in people being scammed with local felinids being sold as alleged survivors of Terran species has forced an increased crackdown on beast-traders.
The ancestors of native Ruwwad and Annwfyn peoples that first colonised the sector brought with them several domestic animals – none are as numerous as the Felinids, which remain popular pets, though many have interbred with the sectors native felinid, the Gyrinx. The Gyrinx is not unique to the Prosperitas Sector – these felinids are prized across the galaxy as companions as they are legendarily intelligent, forming strong bonds with their owners. They are perfect companions to the psyker, reinforce their strange mental abilities. The interbreeding between these strange felines and domestic felines brought by settlers has somewhat diminished what could have been an incredibly valuable commodity for the sector. Collectors excitedly coming tin search are often disappointed not to find the characteristic vibrant fur tones or the infamously long tapered ears of the pure-bred Gyrinx present amongst those few gyrinxes born to felinid populations in the sector. It is said that all domestic felines in the sector carry a bit of gyrinx blood, which makes them that much smarter and cannier than their ancestors. Most felinids are found as domestic pets – there are few true gyrinxes in captivity. Battlefleet Prosperitas has a strong tradition of using felinids as ‘ratters’, working animals charged with keeping voidships clean of all manner of vermin, a task that often requires extensive cybernetic augmentation. Wild populations of both Gyrinxes and lesser felinids exist on many planets, especially the forested worlds of Subsector Secondus and Primus.
Canids are another domestic animal brought into the sector with the original settlers. In much of the Imperium it is common to see artificial cybernetic/robotic constructs fulfilling the working roles canids had once on Terra – guarding Imperial bases, hunting criminals, and sniffing for threat. However, in the Prosperitas Sector, the fondness of the Annwfyn and Ruwwad settlers for canids has provided the Imperium with a variety of these noble beasts. They are often found in military service in the Imperial Guard and Planetary Defence Forces, as well as in law enforcement supporting Arbites and local forces, amongst a myriad of other working uses. The average Prosperan canid has proven a strong candidate for cybernetic augmentation, hardy enough to endure most surgeries – Prosperitas-made cybermastiffs are most usually cyborgs of varying degrees of augmentation.
In most areas of the Imperium, including Prosperitas, the lizard-like Grox is a primary herd animal. The beast is possessed of the unique (and somewhat unfortunate for it) trait of its entire body being almost entirely edible. Perhaps aware of its ultimate fate as food, grox are infamously foul tempered in their nature. Hence, they are heavily farmed but almost universally hated by those that farm them – it is not a creature that engenders much sympathy with those involved in rearing it, which is perhaps why it is so easy for them to send it to the slaughter in such numbers.
Amongst the teeming life of the Prosperitas Sector, Saurids represent a common group of reptile species found across the Sector. These primitive creatures come in all shapes and sizes, with many such creatures such as the, misnamed, ‘Butonian Scythe-Lizard’ being found on the surface of agri-worlds like Butonia across the sector, most are of minimal concern, but the megafauna of Caracas make for popular attractions in the Sector’s fighting pits.
The forests of Helaerus III are teeming with life-forms. It is said that everything within the forest preys upon something, and given the abundance of hostile plant life that seems likely to be true. In the forested highlands, and to those foolish enough to be on the outer surfaces of the spires of the Hives, the Nevermore – a massive flying predator – is a constant threat. These huge corvid-like saurids have razor-sharp beaks, easily large enough to cleave a human in half with a single bite. Amongst the forest floor the bone-armoured Beowulf, a saurian creature with a wolf-like shape, makes use of dark fur-like light-absording feathers in order to stalk its prey. And, in the immense treetops of the ironwood trees, whole colonies of giant Lancer Wasps will aggressively defend their homes easily from attacking loggers. To make matters worse, Helaerus is just one of the many worlds in the sector one can encounter breeding populations of Clawed Fiends…
The Clawed Fiend is not a native species to the Prosperitas sector. They were first encountered by the Imperium in the distant Donorian sector – how this species made the transition to the forests of the Prosperitas Sector is unknown. The physiognomy of the Prosperan breed of Fiend is notably distinct. It has tawny/brown fur and a blue skin tone, as opposed to the red skin and blue fur of more well-known breeds. This alien beast is an amalgamation of the most predatory aspects of nature. Its size is tremendous, and it can move its bulk of muscle and claw at almost preternatural speeds. The arms are long and muscular, giving it a tremendous reach. It also sports a long corded tail of bone and sinew, ending with a deadly spike of bone. Each of its claws are larger than an Ork’s forearm, and cruelly shaped – combined with the creature’s strength these can cut like monoblades. To make matters worse, the creature’s multiple eyes and specially adapted ears allow it to see in several spectrums and pick up the slightest sounds, no matter the background noise. Any hunter learns quickly that the only way to kill a clawed fiend is fast. Through some chemical reaction when injured or, some say, the scent of its own blood, wounding one of these creatures causes it to go into a berzerk state. A Fiend never flees, and when driven into this hyper-aware state it has been known to tar through entire bulkheads with its immense strength.
The Manchot is a flightless aquatic bird uniquely found on the fortress world of Kelper Prime. It is the only inhabitant of the fortress world that has actively benefited from the conflicts there, for it is just light enough not to trigger a standard landmine detonation plate, meaning it is a thriving species despite the fighting as it can survive within the impassable dense minefields. Squat and rotund, it is a pale-coloured bird with blued colouring. When slaughtered, it provides fatty meat that is prized by the locals of the planet as a food source.
Stoorworm are a species of aggressive amphibian xenofauna, found across the Sector. Usually green in colour and bipedal, they possess a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth and long gangly claws. The species is non-sentient and territorial, often defending nesting sites. They also have an ability to survive in urban environments – whole populations of them have been discovered lurking in the sump of several Hives in the Sector. The species is a threat when it begins hunting humans, but it is mostly a danger because its simple bestial mind make it a favoured weapon of witches trying to defend themselves, using their strange powers to control these creatures.
Commonly sighted in hive cities, Argentum coleoptera – known colloquially as the Silver Death – is a small chrome-shelled beetle of unknown origin. In swarms, they have been known to overwhelm and strip a citizen’s flesh in seconds. They tend to live in subterranean environments and are generally a minor threat given their limited territory.
Capaegri, or Capaegrus variatus are an invasive hexapedal mammalian species, found across many agri-world of the Prosperitas sector. The size of a small canid, an individual capaegrus possesses blunt teeth and vestigial horns that pose little threat to humans. However, they possess extremely opportunistic scavenging instincts, an incredible hardiness against environmental toxins, and a strong tendency to overwhelm local ecosystems. These qualities render them a perennial annoyance to agriworlders across the sector, especially given their tendency to chew on blessed machinery and power cabling. A number of Magoi-Biologis – relegated to the unglamorous but essential duty of sector pest management – have attempted to employ capaegri in land reclamation following Archenemy occupation. Limited genetic re-sequencing has rendered them capable of destructive grazing on all common strains of bloodgrass (Trifolium infernum) without mutating, though such geno-alchemy remains controversial, as does the risk of a ‘furry goo’ situation wherein uncontrolled capaegri convert vegetable biomass into more capaegri at an exponential rate.
Phoca loquens is a semi-humanoid species of aquatic pinniped endemic to Lerwick. Approximately 1.7m long, their hides are a mixture of scales, fur, and shell unique to each recovered sample. P. loquens possesses claws and a mouth ringed by sharp chelicerae; while superficially intimidating, these are typically only employed for hunting small fish and other marine life, the sole food source of the species – no predatory attacks on humans have been observed, although care is recommended when approaching them during fishing expeditions. References to P. loquens as ‘selkies’ are deprecated – while local superstitions regarding their sapience, undersea civilisations, and tendency to murder Guard stationed in littoral postings are regrettably common, Biologis investigation has revealed them to be non-sapient animals with a significant but not unusual aptitude for mimicry, rather than an abhuman or beastman strain. Trade in pelts of Phoca loquens is not illegal but is heavily controlled, following the mass culling of the Lerwick population and the failure of attempts to rear them off-planet.